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Google's Plan To Save the News Through Reinvention

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the some-patients-are-beyond-treatment dept.

Businesses 83

eldavojohn writes "It's no secret that Google doesn't create content, but rather helps people find it. And Google News is no different. So what does the company plan to do about complaints from the news industry that profits are dropping drastically? In a lengthy and comprehensive article, The Atlantic diagnoses the problem and looks at Google's plan to 'save' the symbiotic organism it is attached to, which older generations have traditionally branded 'the news.' The answer, of course, hinges on moving news from dead tree print to the information age via Google's many projects: Living Stories, Fast Flip, and YouTube Direct. But Google is also exploring the more traditional options of displaying ads and designing a paywall so users can easily migrate back to subscriptions like the newspapers of yore. You may also recall that last week the Internet was abuzz with the idiocy of suggestions the FTC had aggregated from inside the industry. Ars brings mention of other proposed plans, both good and bad, from the FTC's report on ideas that newspaper companies are kicking around."

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first? (-1, Offtopic)

ecklesweb (713901) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486398)

could it be?

Want me to read the news? Even subscribe? (5, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32489850)

Then let me tell you why the news industry lost me. It wasn't paywalls. It wasn't paper or plastic or bits.

It was:

  • Opinion dumping instead of fact reporting outside the editorial bailiwick
  • Ridiculous woo-woo "alternate" POVs
  • Ultra-light content - there are others besides IQ 90 people out there! Let me remind you of this actual news format: [headline, easily comprehended summary, detailed exposition that actually covers the issue at hand well]
  • Web-fail: No or minimal links to relevant data, reporting. It's the LINKS, stupid.
  • Absurdly low-resolution images, if there even were images (1024 is quite low these days... you make newsies use decent resolution cameras like the Canon 5DmkII, then you give us these freaking 300...600px thumbnails... thanks for nothing!)
  • On the other hand, if a news story doesn't allow comments... how can the public discuss it? You inform. We talk it over. That's the way it's supposed to work.
  • "Hover" crippled sites - If I don't click, DON'T raise menus, windows. My mouse moves to get from here to there, not to find out the definition of your "keyword(TM)" somewhere along the way. And contrary to the presumptions of your moron web site designers, we do know how to click our mice when we want something oh-so-sophisticated (like a... menu.)

I would honestly rather read some resourceful person's blog where they have gone to the trouble to find interesting, reasonable resolution images; linked to supporting information for their factual claims; and don't try to put in crazy "alternative" ideas like the idiocy of creationism, scientifically unsubstantiated claims of vaccine/autism, cellphone/cancer, angels, auras, and so on down the line of malarkey, and where I may comment upon the subject matter, provoking others to respond, which in turn often digs up more information, etc.

To watch Fox News is to watch the poster child for the failure of an entire industry. To watch CNN is to listen to Kindergarten level expositions on celebrity hi-jinks when wars are raging. The web sites these companies have created are true lowest-common-denominator designs that are painful to anyone who can think their way out of a paper bag. If you're going to aim your content at only half the country, maybe you should be aiming at the half that can think. Or is that too frightening?

And the news industry wonders why its income has dropped. Sheesh.

PS: Spell check and grammar check too... maybe an intern could do that while you FACT CHECK and EDIT OUT YOUR OPINION!

Re:Want me to read the news? Even subscribe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32490440)

Ridiculous woo-woo "alternate" POVs

This and similar phrases always mean "point of view I strongly disagree with", regardless of who uses them. There has never been an exception, and all claims to the contrary are lies.

Re:Want me to read the news? Even subscribe? (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#32491102)

I agree with everything else he said though. He nailed most of the major issues, including the epic fail of low-res images and no supporting linkage. When you read a news item, and you immediately turn to Google to continue the story, you've been hurt. Just check out what's posted here, if they're discussing a product, it's 50/50 chance they even link to the product page.

Blogs, mostly still text. You have no idea how often I click on HuffingtonPost's "Top 10 images of [whatever]." It's just so much more entertaining to see a slideshow.

I will add this, though: Newspapers are in a reactionary mode regarding the web. All they do is throw readers at the web hoping we'll stick. No. The point is, you read it first and tell me if it's interesting. If the newspaper is asking me to do extra reading ("hey, go to our homepage for more!") then they fail.

Re:Want me to read the news? Even subscribe? (2, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32491270)

This and similar phrases always mean "point of view I strongly disagree with", regardless of who uses them. There has never been an exception, and all claims to the contrary are lies.

Yes, I designate as woo-woo, and strongly disagree with, and dispute that there are relevant relevant objective facts underlying creationism, the presumption of the actuality of "god(s)", actual data that demonstrate causative links from vaccines to autism, aliens anally probing us (much as some folks might prefer otherwise), ghosts, anything whatsoever to do with astrology other than locating general regions of the sky (e.g. the comet will cross Sagittarius in early June), any "healing" or other health functions of simple possession of any crystal in the quartz family with the possible exception of using one to rap you on the head if you claim they are "generators", "healers", provide "energy", etc.; I call woo-woo on phrenology, the efficacy of copper bracelets, magnets in your shoes, Scientology, and almost anything that comes out of Glen Beck's mouth. And I'm just warming up.

But the reason isn't disagreement, per se, it is that there is zero underlying science, much less data, for these things. If they come up with data, that'll be another matter entirely. Disagreement is a consequence of the lack of data and supporting theory (or even tenable hypotheses) underlying these things.

There has never been an exception, and all claims to the contrary are lies.

Re:Want me to read the news? Even subscribe? (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 4 years ago | (#32491014)

this deserves to be +6 informative

Re:When News Channels quote Twitter... (1)

stiggle (649614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32493958)

You know the TV stations are failing at reporting the news when they're quoting opinions from tweets and reading stuff from other online news sites.

Re:Want me to read the news? Even subscribe? (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32494290)

For me it was merely inaccuracy, spin ,propaganda and outright lies.
Far too little too late, Google.

Re:Want me to read the news? Even subscribe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32494662)

I must agree with this post 100%. In my little world we simply stopped watching TV. Told Time Warner to kiss it and started saving 150 bucks per month. The stress level in my home dropped dramatically in the first few weeks after stopping the constant flow of drivel from the idiot tube. We got a decent flat screen and hooked up a 63 dollar MSI 1Gig video card to a cheap-ish older E-Machine and went wireless to the net. Now I happily dig through NetFlix and You Tube to find our entertainment. Which, by the way, we end up watching much less TV. Like, 10 percent of what we used to view. This saves a lot of time and we are back to gardening and hiking.

Forgive me if I turn my ostrich head and re-plant it in the sand while the rest of the world goes crazy. Can you blame me? According to the news networks the whole world is screwed and you might as well not get up in the morning. Talk about depressing crap spewed 24X7. I feel bad about it but I checked out of the news game about a year ago and am having a much happier life. You know, just a few years ago we never would have heard of any of these terrible news stories anyway. My parents made it through life without knowing what was going on in the next town. Much less to be instantly informed that some asinine breeder lost it's ill begotten baby in the mall. Or better yet, the ones that end up dead due to bad driving habits or lack of maintenance on their vehicles or leave their progeny in hot cars,... Get the point the list goes on and on. Never ending and nothing you can do about any of it.

I still bounce between NPR and the John Boy and Billy Show on the morning commute. Most mornings NPR is so depressing that I just listen to John Boy instead.

Yes Johnny the rest of the world is crazy. No there is no other world for you. You simply must deal with this one. Hmm, says Johnny, "Well in that case, do I have to take them seriously?"

Re:Want me to read the news? Even subscribe? (1)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32503460)

can't stand the low-res images. especially when you see an interesting thumbnail on google news, click it, and its only marginally larger on the site.

Google Shouldn't (4, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486442)

Google should seriously just send a form letter to all news organizations. Do you want us to list your content? Yes / No?

That will piss off these fuckers.

Re:Google Shouldn't (1)

defaria (741527) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486612)

Why to people insist the news needs saving? AFAICT the news is horribly broken. Anybody who trusts the news is an idiot. By news I mean old style news media. Who cares about papers....

Re:Google Shouldn't (4, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486774)

The truth is the old news model is dead. Years ago I used to get my news from the same three sources with only slight channel variation, the local newspaper, the local radio station and TV news. That is now gone forever. I have very little interest in only getting my news via those locked in sources any more.

Generally I prefer to get the news from localised sources for international news, or news sources that align more closely with my interests at the time, or emailed updates from reputable sources, or even random stumbles. When it comes to getting more detail I much prefer to get a blog from a semi-professional journalists who is focusing in on a particular story.

I very rarely go to a news site to read general news to see what is going on, in fact I haven't done it for years. Emailed news alerts, email news subscription and news as part of a internet portal are the becoming becoming the norm for access to the news.

Oddly enough my only news lock in is a news lock out, an anti subscription to anything News Corp http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_Corporation [wikipedia.org] and Fox News, they would have to be one most corrupted multinational news source in the world and I specifically avoid them.

Reverse Subscription (2, Funny)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 4 years ago | (#32487680)

I had an awesome deal to receive a pretty well respected newspaper for only a dollar a month. This included daily papers and the big awesome paper on Sundays. I planned on having a grand ROI by utilizing the coupons which far exceeded the cost of subscription (not because I needed it, but because I have a sick, OCD financial mind). Anyways, fast forward a few months and I could not keep up with throwing these things out. Every morning I would kick the paper inside my door, and everytime I took trash out, I would take them to the recycling bin. After a while though, I had BOXES of newspaper all around my door. It was a MOUND of papers overflowing in several boxes. I did not open or read a single one of them. I meant to cancel, but it was one of those things that you just forget about and it was only a dollar so it was put on the back burner. Eventually, I DID cancel and guess what? THEY KEPT COMING. I called and complaint to take care of it, but it was almost to the point where I wanted to tell them that I would pay to have them stop being delivered. Which brings me to my idea of reverse subscription. Spam everyone with free papers daily. Advertise that you will stop bringing them for a monthly fee.

Re:Reverse Subscription (2, Interesting)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#32488734)

... Which brings me to my idea of reverse subscription. Spam everyone with free papers daily. Advertise that you will stop bringing them for a monthly fee.

Heh. It'd be fun if a newspaper company tried that.

My favorite comment on this issue is that nobody every bought a newspaper because they wanted the paper. This point seems to be missed by most people who write about this topic.

Actually, we have long had a use for newspapers in our house. Because of my wife's allergies to furry critters, we have pet birds. They're small parrots, actually, and as usual we use newspaper to line their cages. After we finally cancelled our subscription to the local newpaper of note (the Boston Globe), we were at first worried about finding good cage lining. But the free advertising that we get in the mailbox is partly in newsprint format, and we find that sufficient for our cage-lining needs. So we never actually needed the paper, after all. So far, there's no size that ads on cheap paper will ever die out.

As for news, it's getting to be pretty obvious that electronic distribution is far superior to print. Of course, you have to have the sense to understand that not all news is reliable, and to read every story with a certain degree of skepticism. This problem is really helped by the ease with which one can pick out keywords and feed them to a news-search site to get multiple versions of the story with different biases. You can't really do that with printed news, but it's fairly easy for anyone with minimal familiarity with web search sites.

Needless to say, news.google.com is a useful resource here.

Now if slashdot's search thingy worked better than it does ...

Re:Reverse Subscription (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#32491140)

> it's getting to be pretty obvious that electronic distribution is far superior to print.

It's pretty obvious that it's faster. Since news organizations have always relied on the "scoop" to sell papers, speed is important to them, and now they're horribly slow. When I read the morning paper, half the shit is from HuffPo, and it feels like it happened 3 days ago (when it was really just 6 hours earlier).

But I read the morning paper because it only takes ten minutes (or twenty if it's good). So I do like the paper itself. If you go online for news, it should be just as fast, but you end up browsing around for hours and finding nothing.

At least the newspaper has the decency to admit when it's over. It comes with a sports section.

Re:Reverse Subscription (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#32491218)

At least the newspaper has the decency to admit when it's over. It comes with a sports section.

Funny you should mention that. I've been using google news for a while, and usually have a firefox window open with several news.google.com tabs. Recently, since I'm living in New England (the one in the US, not in Australia ;-), I told google news to add a "New England" news tab to the set. Most of the time, this tab has almost nothing but sports news. I have no idea why. There's lots of local news hereabouts, and you can find it in the web sites of a lot of local "papers", but you don't see much of it in google's New England news.

Could it be that all the local news sources are blocking googlebots? If so, why would they do something that keeps people from finding them? It seems more likely that there's something weird going on inside google that prevents them from recognizing non-sport news related to this geographical area.

Re:Reverse Subscription (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 4 years ago | (#32494616)

As someone who has been trying to get better crawling for several local news sources on google news, no it is not that all newspapers are blocking google, it is just that google has not been doing a very good job of determining local issue priority.

Sports is easy, but it is more difficult for the google bots to quantify other types of news. Google likes to pull in similar stories and grade them based on popularity and then more or less randomly show the articles for each subject. Sports scores are easy to compare and determine they are generally the same subject matter, local news stories not so much so. For example, one local paper may have a story titled "Locals use pools to cool off during Summer months" while another paper may report "Locals dive in to escape heat wave". In some cases there might be only one local paper reporting on a subject.

If you look at google's news content it is almost all rehashed versions of AP stories and syndicated content - there is a reason. Google looks for similar stories and tries to pull them together. The more there are the more important the story is, or so goes the logic. The reality is that this doesn't work well for small towns and smaller news organizations. In my case I have resorted to sending actual "featured news" feeds to google, which they seem to have begun incorporating. If google wants to "save" the industry however, they have a great deal more work to do.

Re:Reverse Subscription (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#32498518)

I think you might be right. Also, I've noticed that it can be very difficult to figure out where a lot of "local news" web sites are located. I frequently see pointers to local news stories, in places like Dave Barry's blog [herald.com] , where the readers send in local stories that they think are relevant to the blog. In his case, these are usually funny/twisted stories, of course, but this happens with a lot of blogs. When I follow a link, I often find myself wondering where in the world this happened - and I often can't tell. The web site will just identify itself as "The Whoville Tribune", and not bother mentioning state or province or country. A "whois whovilletribune.com" request can take a long time, and then doesn't help, because the owner of the domain name may be an organization with headquarters distant from the place covered by the web site.

So one possibility is that google can't tell where a lot of local news sites, either. I don't know if there's a workable solution to this, other than to keep sending messages to the site saying that it would help if they at least identified the country that they're in. But that can be difficult, because it's also often hard to find a working email address in such sites.

Re:Reverse Subscription (1)

jp10558 (748604) | more than 4 years ago | (#32499906)

Of course, you have to have the sense to understand that not all news is reliable, and to read every story with a certain degree of skepticism. This problem is really helped by the ease with which one can pick out keywords and feed them to a news-search site to get multiple versions of the story with different biases.
I've actually been rather disappointed with trying that on several different news stories recently. They all seemed to be very slightly changed version of the same text, if not just cut and paste of the AP or Reuters copy. I think this has helped show that not many news sources actually even add spin to a story that isn't really big headline news and instead we could get by for probably 90% of news with AP and Reuters and not actually have anything change with regard to content.

Re:Reverse Subscription (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#32501366)

I've actually been rather disappointed with trying that on several different news stories recently. They all seemed to be very slightly changed version of the same text, if not just cut and paste of the AP or Reuters copy.

Yeah; I've seen a lot of that. It does somewhat depend on where the story originated, and who might be interested.

Just a bit ago, I was perusing a few of the recent Yemen stories, for example, and found that in addition to all the usual UPI/Reuters/BBC/... stories, news.google.com had a number of links to stories (sometimes in poor English) that were obviously somewhat local Middle-Eastern sources. This happens quite a lot now. A few years ago, it was news when aljazeera.com became part of the "normal" newsfeed pool. But people all around that part of the world have figured out that the Internet gives them a way around the choke points of the big news corporations, and have been putting English translations of their material online.

My wife, who reads Arabic, has had some fun looking at the flood of Arabic/English sites. Some of them (including aljazeera) have quite good (i.e., honest ;-) translations, and any bias is mostly in the form of what they think English-speaking readers might find interesting. Others are quite obviously intended as propaganda. Just about what you'd expect. But the useful part of this is that they are getting online, and aren't being "filtered" any more, at least not in this part of the world (Massachusetts).

Of course, if a story happens in Paris or London, you'd sorta expect that most of the reports would be from the major news feeds there. To find other reports, you probably have to dig past the "news" sites.

I have seen that google news is now explicitly listing news and blog sites, FWIW. All the anti-blog propaganda aside, the blog format is becoming a standard approach for non-professional news aggregation. Slashdot is one obvious example, of course, and they're now around by the millions, in all levels of quality. This might be a sign that the "news" industry is working on new ways of classifying their operation. The big news feeds are your standard heirarchical corporate approach, which works for some things and fails badly for others.

Re:Google Shouldn't (3, Interesting)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 4 years ago | (#32488586)

I agree. What google news, by its aggregation, so eloquently proves is that 99% of the "top stories" content out there is completely redundant - most papers provide just a token tweaking of a newswire story. We don't need a hundred versions of that. I think a more serious threat than google is wikinews - the sum of many writers, combined with clear citations linked to the story and an edit history is already becoming my first choice of where to look on complex issues where I want the facts and current situation.

Re:Google Shouldn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32491430)

Then how do you stay informed about the world around you?
How can you build up a store of ideas about whether your government is doing good/bad?

If all you read about is all that interests you then I'm afraid for your ability to participate in a meaningful way with the community at large.

Re:Google Shouldn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32490880)

You and I must be reading different news. The New Yorker does some fantastic indepth investigative stuff, as does the New York Times. The Economist, Foreign Policy, New Scientist, Wired, et al produce world-class coverage, some more consistently than others but certainly in the aggregate. We're talking about the potential end of large-scale centralised news gathering. Say what you will about print journalism, but there are many sources that provide legitimate and timely insights into the wider world.

If we lose what we have, or force them to work with less, we reduce our ability to participate as informed citizens. Who will pay for those embedded journalists? What about the coverage from smaller or less important locales? Who is going to do the fact checking and the editing and all the other important steps in the production of professional output? Bloggers aren't there yet, if indeed they ever will be. I care about the death of the papers because they are important. Your dismissal seems more cool-cynacism than considered assessment.

Re:Google Shouldn't (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#32491160)

Most of those are magazines, which is interesting because magazines are cheap, full-color glossy and have in-depth articles. I don't think magazines are doing great financially, but nobody is proclaiming their demise and I think precious few have closed shop.

Maybe people just need to admit that in-depth printed journalism is alive and well. It's just not coming from newspapers because they've savaged themselves of any real content.

Re:Google Shouldn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32491310)

Like Newsweek? Or Reader's Digest?

Re:Google Shouldn't (2, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486658)

I like it. Old Murdoch will have to shit or get off the pot, then justify his actions to investors.

Put up a paywall, or don't put up a paywall. Personally, I don't like Murdoch's kind of "news", and I don't read it for free - I sure as hell won't pay to read it.

As has already been mentioned, the real "news" is being reported via the internet in many different ways already. If some old rich fools can't figure out how to make money off of what they have always done, and can't figure out a new way of doing it, then we are not obligated to KEEP THEM RICH!!

When they get hungry, they can join the illegal aliens in ditch digging for their food.

Oh, boo hoo, some prick born with a silver spoon up his ass might actually do some WORK? Oh, what is this world coming to?

Re:Google Shouldn't (3, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32487448)

some prick born with a silver spoon up his ass might actually do some WORK?

When pigs fly.

Re:Google Shouldn't (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32490628)

Haven't you been listening to the news?

Swine Flu.

Re:Google Shouldn't (1)

shemp42 (1406965) | more than 4 years ago | (#32489202)

The sad thing is that the rich ones will not be effected. The ones that will be effected is the working stiffs. The upper management and executives will easily find work somewhere else. Its the people work in circulation and Ad ops that will lose there jobs. Also a lot of graphic artists.

Re:Google Shouldn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32489606)

You haven't read the summary have you. And yes i agree.

It would take Superman... (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486464)

...to save the news, Lois!

But unfortunately, Superman is out of work and living off food stamps these days.

Re:It would take Superman... (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32487550)

He's [wikipedia.org] dead, [wikipedia.org] Jim. But guys like Murdoch are the new Lex Luthor; the newspaper publishers are killing their own businesses and blaming the internet.

When you buy a dead-tree paper, you're paying for the cost of printing; or at least you used to. The rest is paid by advertisers, and some papers even give printed versions away for free. But the real reason newspapers are dying is because publishers are charging too damned much for them! When I was a kid, the St Louis Post Dispatch, a big city reputable paper, cost a dime. With the advances in printing technology you'd think it would'nt have gone up at much or even at all, but it's a buck now.

And a world-wide readership should bring in MORE ad money than a local readership. "Ad blockers" they scream? Well, people don't block ads because they hate advertising, they block ads because they hate intrusive advertising.

Someone with more brains and less greed could certainly make money in the newspaper business. They're killing themselves with their own greed.

Re:It would take Superman... (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 4 years ago | (#32490236)

With the advances in printing technology you'd think it would'nt have gone up at much or even at all, but it's a buck now.
 
I subscribe to the daily paper (only 6 days per week, no Sunday paper here) and it costs close to $300/year for it.
 
Every time I renew it I debate whether it's really worth the money. One of these years I'll convince myself that it's not.
 
I just have a particular time of day that I always sit and read the paper and I'm such a creature of habit that it would be traumatic to change that. So I keep avoiding it and just renew the paper every year. So far...

Re:It would take Superman... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32495286)

Well, there are advantages to the old newspapers. You can read it anywhere, swat your puppy's nose with it, line your birdcage, make party hats... If I rode a bus I'd probably buy a paper every day, but now I just read the news online. I probably hit five newspapers a day.

Bah I say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32486474)

Someone will always come out of the wood work and report the news for free, and google will display it. I'll get my news from the daily show, thanks!

Adwords it (3, Insightful)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486494)

Every article gets an Adword block, Google takes a smaller cut than usual, and the newspaper gets paid.

Shortly after that, the better independent writers will probably start publishing to Google directly.

Re:Adwords it (4, Interesting)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#32487400)

or run a blog with a cut from google each time their article shows up on news.google.com when a ad gets clicked.

Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (4, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486506)

From the article:

One Google employee who asked not to be named mentioned another report on journalism's future and pointed out a section called "Focus on the User." "They just mean, 'Get money out of the user,'" he said. "Nowhere do they talk about how to create something people actually want to read and engage with and use." On the topic of engaging modern users, Google feels very confident right now, and the news business feels very nervous. Apart from anything else, that certainty gap makes Google important to the future of the news.

So far I am completely unimpressed with Google's attempts at engaging the modern user. I use a lot of Google's products but none of them are really "engaging". Yeah, they're trying different engagement tactics such as copycatting the "like" feature and adding social commenting to Google Reader. They've tried and failed to engage people with Wave and Buzz. They have some input on Google News from "pros". Otherwise, it's just your typical aggregator. Not impressed.

Now, the whole getting money out of the user thing is all the newspaper industry cares about. While some are coming around to the fact that community is what is most important, right now at least, to their bottom line they are so far behind the curve that they may never catch up. Blogs are great not only for the content they aggregate or create themselves and deliver for free, but the commenting that's permitted, encouraged and which flourishes far better than on any newspaper site.

Once Google stops concerning itself with pandering to the pay-for desires of the other industries, perhaps the lessons and wars waged and won on the blogs will make themselves known to others. Until then the newspaper industry, even with Google backing them in some sort of lame attempt at winning a war they lost 10 years ago, will continue its slow death.

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (2, Insightful)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486808)

So far I am completely unimpressed with Google's attempts at engaging the modern user. I use a lot of Google's products but none of them are really "engaging". Yeah, they're trying different engagement tactics such as copycatting the "like" feature and adding social commenting to Google Reader. They've tried and failed to engage people with Wave and Buzz. They have some input on Google News from "pros". Otherwise, it's just your typical aggregator. Not impressed.

I don't think that most of Google's current products are _supposed_ to be engaging. Seems to me that they're supposed to be transparent. Google doesn't make content, they make content discovery and distribution. Ideally you wouldn't see their apps at all, you would only see the content.

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486882)

Most of them aren't supposed to be engaging, that's true. He was referencing that ones that -are- and fail to be.

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32487290)

Ideally you wouldn't see their apps at all, you would only see the advertisments.

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486910)

WD-40, known as "Water Displacement 40"... took years of development before it was perfected. The lightbulb, which took over a hundred years of researching thousands of filament materials before finding a good one. Duct tape, which started out as a way to seal ammo boxes during WWII somehow wound up finding its way into just about every major engineering undertaking in modern history, fashion, and a lot more.

These are just one of the many technologies we now take for granted, and it was made possible by a combination of luck, research, and people finding applications for it that the designers hadn't intended. Google is an incubator of technologies -- they try a hundred different things to find one that works.

There will always be a need for people to know what's going on in the world... And someone needs to produce that information, and then it needs to be packaged in a way that can be easily and quickly understood. People who want reliable information in a easy to use format will pay for it -- like intelligence agencies. People who don't need reliable information (which is most of us, most of the time) probably won't pay. Google is for the latter group.

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (3, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32487564)

Google is an incubator of technologies -- they try a hundred different things to find one that works.

So where's Google's 'WD40'?

Perhaps I've missed something, but Google do advertising, web search, advertising, online email, online word processing, advertising, online maps, online photo storage, advertising and a few other odds and ends that are either old hat or just online versions of things people have done on PCs for years. If they're such a great technology incubator I'd be interested to know what great new technologies they've incubated; Google Earth is about the most innovative I can think of.

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32488632)

Google is an incubator of technologies -- they try a hundred different things to find one that works.

So where's Google's 'WD40'?

Perhaps I've missed something, but Google do advertising, web search, advertising, online email, online word processing, advertising, online maps, online photo storage, advertising and a few other odds and ends that are either old hat or just online versions of things people have done on PCs for years. If they're such a great technology incubator I'd be interested to know what great new technologies they've incubated; Google Earth is about the most innovative I can think of.

Street View?

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (3, Informative)

ChatHuant (801522) | more than 4 years ago | (#32488654)

Google Earth is about the most innovative I can think of

Google Earth wasn't new technology either; it's just a more webified version of the old Terraserver [wikipedia.org] project at Microsoft, which had been operating for close to 8 years before Google launched Google Earth.

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#32490394)

Google didn't incubate Goole Earth. They bought an existing product called EarthViewer by another company called Keyhole and renamed it Google Earth.

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#32491226)

Good to know. But whether they've written products from scratch or assimilated them (which is how Microsoft got big), they've done this:

Search with pagerank
Translate
Images search
Maps with driving directions
Satellite View
StreetView
News
Froogle
Google Video + bought YouTube
Gmail
Books
Google FastFlip ("Reader"?)
Android
Chrome browser (I'm using now, it's the fastest at loading Slashdot comments)
ChromeOS

They are doing everything a software company should do, which is to write or collect all the software they could ever want. If I ran the company myself, I wouldn't do much different.

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 4 years ago | (#32492304)

Good to know. But whether they've written products from scratch or assimilated them (which is how Microsoft got big), they've done this:

Search with pagerank Translate Images search Maps with driving directions Satellite View StreetView News Froogle Google Video + bought YouTube Gmail Books Google FastFlip ("Reader"?) Android Chrome browser (I'm using now, it's the fastest at loading Slashdot comments) ChromeOS

They are doing everything a software company should do, which is to write or collect all the software they could ever want. If I ran the company myself, I wouldn't do much different.

Lots of good stuff there. I'm liking Google Goggles a lot too.

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32500310)

"Just a more webified version"

You make it sound like that's 1) easy to do and 2) not transformative in the very fact that millions more people now have access to it and can annotate it.

It's like saying TV "just a more electronic version" of the town crier or theater.

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (3, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32489144)

If they're such a great technology incubator I'd be interested to know what great new technologies they've incubated; Google Earth is about the most innovative I can think of.

Well, I do believe Google Maps pretty well sparked the Web 2.0 trend, and was pretty loudly revered by all who saw it when it first came out.

Google image search was a rather fundamental change, and GIS has become as much of a verb as Google. Others have since copied it, but before GIS, searching for images was vastly more painful.

I'd suppose their back-end technology is pretty good as well. Containerized data centers, et al.

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#32491272)

Google Maps isn't much different from Mapquest. I think it was the satellite view and 3D application that got people's attention.

>before GIS, searching for images was vastly more painful.

Yes it was. But Google Images is still sad. It just checks the image tag name and if you're lucky, the developer tagged it properly. But even then, you're only getting one or two search terms out of it.

If you take a look at a proper image database, they use dozens of keywords. And you pay through the nose for it.

With everything else that Google has scanned and cataloged (all books? All houses and storefronts?!) they should probably throw a few typists at the task of tagging images.

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32491604)

Google Maps isn't much different from Mapquest.

It's quite different. Mapquest was only basic road maps, did not allow dragging the map around, did not allow recentering, etc., etc.

think it was the satellite view and 3D application that got people's attention.

3D wasn't added until quite recently.

It just checks the image tag name

Ummm... No it doesn't.

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (1)

hclewk (1248568) | more than 4 years ago | (#32489950)

Where's Edison's WD40?

Perhaps I've missed something, but Edison just did a few odds and ends that are just electric versions of things people have done other ways for years. Take the light bulb for example. That's just basically a candle that uses electricity.

Put another (non-sarcastic) way, you've missed something.

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 4 years ago | (#32491696)

Google has thrown a bunch of shit at the wall. So far, only search has stuck. Android is sticking a little bit, but they certainly aren't a Xerox PARC or Bell Labs.

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (1)

jp10558 (748604) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508900)

I don't know how much this actually has to do with coming up with *new* stuff, but as far as I can tell GMail basically owns webmail now, Youtube is basically *the* video streaming site, and Google Maps as stated elsewhere is quite the contender in that arena. And Google News seems to be big enough as an aggregator to get the various media companies suing,talking and thinking about it, whereas, say, slashdot doesn't...

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32486932)

"So far I am completely unimpressed with Google's attempts at engaging the modern user. I use a lot of Google's products but..."

That's all 'Engaging' the user is about though. If you're using their products instead of their competitors, then they've done enough. I don't think Google is naive enough to think they can impress every single person with every single service they offer - with us 'old hands' especially, we've probably seen features elsewhere they haven't considered yet. That said, with the range they've got now they can easily get a lot of people roped into using two or three of their services - they're pretty consistent, and often better than anything 'Joe Bloggs' has seen.

We're not really their core market, but the fringe. "The whole getting money out of the user thing is all" any business cares about, so it's natural that Google will go for the easy money before working on attracting the fringe users. Seems to work for them. :)

Re:Newspapers need to team up with someone else... (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 4 years ago | (#32487120)

'So far I am completely unimpressed with Google's attempts at engaging the modern user. I use a lot of Google's products but none of them are really "engaging".'

I strongly disagree with your general premise, but agree with you with regards to where it has to do with the this /. story specifically. On my first point I use Google as my home page with a number of gadgets that show me the headlines from several sources as well as my local weather and a few stock picks, and etc. I feel naked without it. Wow factor? Nah, but they are kind of indispensable to me at this point. But lets consider the news papers and their utter loathing of Google, their common attitude that society owes them a living, that its perfectly acceptable for everyone else other than THEM to innovate, and your secondary point and I are in complete agreement.

more ads. (2)

ihxo (16767) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486590)

How to save the news? More data mining on the readers. More Ads.

Re:more ads. (2, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#32488196)

How to save the news? More laser mining on the readers. More Ads.

There, fixed that for you.

I'm allergic to kool aid! You can have mine! (4, Interesting)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486622)

The one reason people don't turn on the news anymore is because they can see
the huge disparity between reality and the useless propaganda thrown into their
faces - in between a bunch of commercials for diabetes drugs and anti-depressants
and anybody who hasn't seen the scooter guy with that scooter you can get on
Medicaid when the junk food and prescription drugs have worn you down to the point
you can't walk anymore.

Wrapping this pile of crap into a new Google News Fajita with extra kool-aid?
Not going to work.

Let me quote Zbigniew Brzezinski one of the globalist go-fers:

"For the first time in all of human history mankind is politically awakened - that's a total new reality - it has not been so for most of human history.""

Re:I'm allergic to kool aid! You can have mine! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32487826)

when the junk food and prescription drugs have worn you down to the point you can't walk anymore

Junk food a prescription drugs don't cause that, it's the body wearing out, like any machine. You'll find that the guys using canes and even scooters are the guys who performed hard physical labor all their lives, and the guys having heart attacks are in stressful jobs.

Good luck with that heart condition without your nitrogrycerine pills.

Re:I'm allergic to kool aid! You can have mine! (1)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 4 years ago | (#32491302)

To quote Burger King, "Have it YOUR way" then :-). Like I said, you can have my kool-aid,
you seem to be really into it :-)

robots.txt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32486714)

You don't like google indexing your news ? just use robots.txt and stop complaining.

Oh, you don't like that your site can not be found via google this way ? Though. you can't have both. adapt or die.

Except From The Save List : (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32486732)

Forget N.P.R. [npr.org] .

National Public Radio IS commercial radio. Try to find content with a random listen. You likely WON'T.

Thanks in advance.

Yours In Ashgabat,
Kilgore Trout

Intelligent life? (3, Insightful)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486768)

Idea FTA:

Turn college students into journalists. "If the nation’s 200,000 journalism and mass communications students spent 10 percent of their time doing actual journalism," said one participant, "that would more than make up for all the traditional media jobs that have been lost in the past 10 years."

You unintentionally stumbled upon a nice parallel there. Like the communications major looking for a nice engineer to marry, print media is out trolling for a sugar daddy.

The problems is that the... (4, Insightful)

strangeattraction (1058568) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486812)

The problem is that the people that created the problem are trying to solve it. This rarely works. The system is in flux and will remain so until a clear path is recognized by the consumer. ie I'll pay for NYTIMEs $14/yr but not $14/month. Cable TV is having a similar problem. The consumer wants ale carte but the providers want to maintain the status quo and keep your eyeballs 24/7. Unfortunately it is out of their hands. The market is fragmenting their structure is not sustainable with todays infrastructure providing more choices. Eventually some model will dominate and that will become the new status quo.

Re:The problems is that the... (2, Interesting)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#32487926)

As far as cable goes, they really need to get ale carte. Full catalog of every show ever made, on demand, with live sports packages per team. Different price points for "add supported", "add free", "add supported ale cart", "add supported unlimited", and "add free unlimited". Oh and prepaid metered and sports package only.

I do believe the hold up isn't coming from the ISP/Cable companies, but from the content producers. In the current model they sell packages, so you're paying for the shit programming nobody watches. If only the shows that people watched got funded there would be a lot less on TV. That could be both a good and bad thing.

Re:The problems is that the... (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#32491322)

Content producers are doing it because they all need to get paid. And there's no incentive for the cable company to shut off certain channels because it's not saving them any appreciable bandwidth to offer a smaller package. Once it's on the wire, it might as well stay there.

Content producers can break the model however by offering their content directly over the web. Which is already starting to happen.

You're saying that people are better at solving ot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32489310)

her people's problems?

Pay for impressions, not clicks (2, Interesting)

gahgah (210772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32487142)

Google could help small publishers by paying for the number of impressions on its Adwords platform, rather than by the much smaller number of "clicks" generated by Adwords on small news sites. The article never actually outlines any plan by Google to help save news organization. The unstated "plan" apparently is for Google to buy up all the news organization after they've gone bankrupt.

Re:Pay for impressions, not clicks (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32488784)

You can get impression based ads, but many advertisers are lured by the "effectiveness" of CPC ads, so never buy impression ads.

Plus, the Google ad system auctions off space such that CPM and CPC ads bid with the same "currency", so they end up costing the same.

I often wonder why my local newspapers sell tons of ad space to Yahoo, but never to Google. Going by the ads, I'm assuming it is because Yahoo has looser rules about annoying ads than Google.

Reinventing News (4, Funny)

sveiki_neliels (870930) | more than 4 years ago | (#32487386)

Doesn't FOX News "reinvent" the news every day?

Reinvent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32489630)

No, I'm pretty sure they just invent it.

Google News Censoring Israeli Paper Haaretz.com? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32490704)

Recently the Israeli Paper Haaretz.com was forced by government censors to recall a dead tree edition from the streets.

Lately it has almost disappeared from the Google News rankings for no apparent reason.

Decentralization of news (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32487876)

Its pretty obvious that creation and distribution of news is becoming decentralized. Now that the average person can make a reputable blog in minutes (assuming that what they have to say is worthwhile) there is no need for megacorps to push a very expensive distribution model involving dead trees and armies of journalists. Average people are the journalists of tomorrow and thank the Holy Noodle Monster for that considering the recent decline in journalistic integrity. People can use Google or other tools to quickly find what they are interested in even though there is a huge amount of material, and they can read it on their phones on the go or at their computer in the comfort of their home. You can compare sources to others around the world, instantly, and see where biases lay (lie? damn English!). You can have dialogs with people of all walks of life about any given article. There is no way for dead-tree news to beat this, and there is no way consumers will be willing to pay subscriptions for generic news on the internet, so to all the paper- or subscription-based news companies out there, I bid you farewell with a smug smile on my face. ;)

The middle man age is ending, mainly due to the Internet, and the leeches are screaming as we burn them off their food source. This applies to the music industry and probably to TV and Hollywood next as independent YouTube production is beginning to flourish. Long live the Internet, the all-purpose tool of the people and the bane of the oppressor. Don't ever let them take it from us.

We're trying to save liberal ideology... (-1, Troll)

strong_epoxy (413429) | more than 4 years ago | (#32488124)

...not necessarily newspapers. Information vehicles (newspaper, radio, TV) that support liberal ideas are failing and the challenge is how to prop them up, like NPR/PBS. Conservative information vehicles require no such support. Naturally attacking and handicapping those conservative vehicles must be a central part of any liberal media support plan executed by the government and Google.

A Balance Of News Powers Is Needed (3, Interesting)

assertation (1255714) | more than 4 years ago | (#32488824)

I wouldn't be happy if either traditional news sources or news from the web went away. They are both needed to balance out each others shortcomings.

Web sources of the news has forced mainstream media to cover stories that otherwise would have been buried.

Mainstream media provides a base of credibility against the web where anyone can write anything.

Re:A Balance Of News Powers Is Needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32491502)

So your saying FOX news is a credible balanced source?

How about (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32489634)

How about the news become something other than just spitting out government propaganda? It's obvious that there is only one source for most of the news, when all the media comes up with the same stupid quotes, verbatum. Remember when all the media became concerned about "gravitas"? It's amazing that they all came up with the exact same weird word on the same day covering the same person.

You see the same thing, over and over. It's obvious that they are all being fed these comments. They all show the same news articles, and go on to ignore other important information. They might as well all change their name to "Pravda", and get it over with.

Re:How about (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32489970)

It's not necessarily the government, but the Washington press corps is a cliquish bunch. Surprisingly, The New York Times Magazine ran an article awhile back about how a certain influential reporter is able to "shape" much of the day's news since he he's hyper-connected to the politicians, business people, journalists, and other influential people. The news media compete to some extent, but they're all just competing to serve gruel from the same bucket. Really, it's a lack of journalistic imagination on their part: They want to be the first to break what those "in the know" consider to be "the" story of the day. Influential people who want to break a story shop it with influential people like this manic journalist along with the blogs the editors and producers read. Our news seems so homogeneous because it's produced by such a homogeneous group responding to the social and economic pressures placed upon it. There's just not much willingness to take the time and risk of the kind of investigative journalism that may also upset the status quo when it's just so much easier to report on scandals and celebrity gossip that seem to get the largest audience anyway.

Why? (1)

robbyyy (703254) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496072)

I fail to see why free to access content publishers have any great problem with Google. Google is 9/10 the number one driver of audience to their properties. Traffic = money.
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